Making your own Belt

In this blog I will be taking you through my process of belt making however I must say, on this occasion, it is more a case of assembling shop bought components to meet my own needs.

I will be using:

  • Double cap rivets (or hand sew)
  • Rivet setting tool
  • Hammer
  • Scissors
  • Leather hole punch
  • Belt buckles
  • Leather strips (36mm wide, 38mm wide and 41mm wide) approx. 3.2-3.8mm thick        
  • Timber off cut to use as a base for hammering
All you need for making a belt

Firstly, I used one of my existing belts as a guide to identify where my belt holes would be and how many there would need to be allowing for some extra mince pies at Christmas and should I ever manage to shed a few pounds too.

You can either measure and mark with a ruler and marker pen or simply lay the old belt on top of the new leather and mark through the holes with a suitable marker pen, if necessary, use some masking tape so your marks can be seen more easily.

Marking out the belt holes

Once marked out the holes can be punched. I have found a drill or awl can also work just fine for this so no need to buy a leather hole punch.

Ready to punch out the holes

Next the buckle end must me marked out again using the existing belt length as a guide. Ideally an oblong or rectangle cut out must be made for the buckle pin to pass through. I used the leather hole punch to make 2 circular holes and then finished with a sharp knife to form the oblong. On the other belt I used a sharp chisel to form a rectangular cut out. Either is fine.

Cut out hole for the buckle pin
Buckle pin hole cut using a sharp chisel

Once this was done, I slid on the new buckle on, making sure the pin was the correct way round. I then folded the leather, so it was now doubled around the buckle with the buckle pin through our oblong or rectangular cut out.

I then drilled 2 holes and riveted the buckle in place. (Riveting covered below) Tip. I found it easier to fold the leather as sharply as possible before drilling or making the holes for the rivets.

Next the belt loop (brass in this case) must be slid on to the new leather belt. About 40mm past the buckle end will do. Now you will need to drill to make two holes either side of the belt loop, so it can be riveted in place. You can use as many rivets as you see fit, or if you wish the leather can be hand sewn with no rivets at all.

Any excess leather can now be trimmed off the back or inside of the belt using the sharp scissors. Finally, I drew around the end of my existing belt to replicate the end shape and cut this with the sharp scissors. This can be any shape of your choosing.

Belt end shaped and ready to cut with sharp scissors

There are numerous types if rivets that can be used including screw rivets. Most will require the use of a setting tool and base anvil cap. Kits are available online and are simple enough to use. The rivets I used were pushed through the holes on either side of the leather, held in place over the anvil cap on the timber block (not your dining room table or kitchen worktop) the setting tool held on top in the correct alignment and hit with the hammer to connect the 2 rivet parts together. I found it best to have the setting tool on the rivet on the finished side of the belt for a better finish should the anvil cap mark the back of the leather during fixing.

Selection of finished belts

There is no end to the embossing, stitching or finer decorative designs that can now be added to your new belt, remember to look after your new leather belt creation with some good quality leather care wax.


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